Hispanics trail other groups in Web usage, confidence

 
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In an increasingly digital economy, those who keep pace with technology will have an advantage in the job market, as the 21st century workforce draws more on tools such as file-sharing, video conferencing and social networking.

A 2011 telephone poll conducted by the Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health, “The Digital Divide: Hispanics Trail Other Groups in Web Usage, Confidence,” investigated the Internet usage and confidence rates among Hispanics as compared with other groups. The poll used a random national sample of 1,959 adults.

The poll’s results include:

  • Among Hispanics, 72% say they use the Internet at least occasionally, lower than the percentages of whites (87%) and blacks (80%).
  • In terms of confidence, 57% of Hispanics say they don’t have enough knowledge about computers to be competitive in the current job environment, compared with only 46% of whites and 45% of blacks who feel the same level of insecurity.
  • A language divide exists for the Hispanic population, with 88% who were polled in English saying they use the Internet or e-mail compared only 53% of those who were polled in Spanish.
  • The trends may be changing across generational lines. Among Hispanics age 18 to 34, 87% are regularly online, compared with 37% for those above 60.

Although the causes of this divide are not explicit, another finding of the study indicates that economic factors play a role. The poll showed that more Hispanics can only get online through smart phones, while whites and blacks more frequently have a choice between a smart phone and a home computer, which typically offers a great variety of Internet applications and experiences.

Tags: technology, Hispanic, Latino, consumer affairs

    Writer: | Last updated: March 31, 2011

    Citation: Kang, Cecilia,; et al. "The Digital Divide: Hispanics Trail Other Groups in Web Usage, Confidence," Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health study, Washington Post, article, February, 2011.
     

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